Software testers evaluate and test software applications. Sometimes referred to as software quality assurance analysts, these IT professionals ensure that all software is functional and usable. Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or programming, but some familiarity with NT, UNIX and Solaris operating systems are desirable as well. Salaries vary by employer, but testers with experience often earn higher salaries -- just like almost any other job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups software testers in with other quality control inspectors. As of 2010, half of all workers in this profession made at least $33,030 a year. But this figure accounts for the salaries of testers as well as sorters, samplers and weighers, so the figure is slightly skewed.
A survey by Robert Half Technology, a national IT staffing agency, found that testers made anywhere from $57,500 to $89,000 a year in 2013. Modis, another national IT recruiter, breaks down the numbers even further, offering details based on experience. With fewer than two years of experience, an analyst averaged $46,758 a year in 2013. Those with two to four years of experience earned $49,153 a year, while those with five or more years of experience could expect a salary of $51,738 a year.
The size of the company also has some bearing on earning potential. For example, a software quality assurance analyst with two to four years of experience earned $43,967 a year at a small company. Her salary could increase to $46,069 at a midsize company and increase to $50,166 at a large company. Those with five or more years of experience can expect to earn $47,561 at a small company, $49,641 at a midsize company and $55,075 at a large company.
As expected, managers tend to earn much more than the testers they supervise. In 2013, a testing manager could earn anywhere from $83,250 to $111,000 a year, revealed the Robert Half Technology survey.
It should also come as no surprise that certain skills are considered more desirable than others, and employers will pay to secure the talent of candidates who possess them. Any analyst with performance testing skills, such as Mercury Interactive Tools, can expect to earn five percent more than his coworkers, reports Robert Half Technology.
2016 Salary Information for Quality Control Inspectors
Quality control inspectors earned a median annual salary of $36,780 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, quality control inspectors earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,760, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $49,250, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 520,700 people were employed in the U.S. as quality control inspectors.